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what do we mean by 'Sustainability'?

Sustainability, as a word and concept, has come to be a powerful rallying idea about how we humans should live on this planet. Yet there are just as many critics of the concept as there are supporters, and we will attempt to clarify what exactly the debate entails. We will do a deep dive into what we mean when we say ‘sustainability’ by learning about the about the many definitions, the origins and history, and political purpose of a sustainability lens. We will discuss deep vs shallow, weak vs strong, relative vs absolute sustainability, and the policy differences inherent in those distinctions. In our conversation, we will talk about how we think of sustainability in our own lives, and what relevance it has to our personal and community approaches to climate action.

POSTPONED- Thursday session originally scheduled for thursday, february 27th has been moved to march 5, 6-8 pm. Friday february 28th on schedule, as planned


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Shaun Sellers is a PhD student in the Leadership for the Ecozoic program (L4E) at McGill University, She has a MSc in Ecological Economics from the University of Leeds, and a BA (Hons) in Business Management from Antioch University. She has worked in sustainability consulting with small businesses and non-profit organizations in Ontario, and has started her own businesses: a fair trade & organic chocolate company in Maple Leaf, Ontario, and before that, a second-hand bookstore cafe in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. Her master’s thesis explored power structures, institutions, and philosophy relevant to envisioning trade policy through an ecological lens, and her current research is in social ecological trade theory. She likes books, her dog, and being in the woods.


Recommended reading:

Our common future (the long report):

what is sustainable development? (a shorter read):

political economy, capitalism, and sustainable development (an open access article):

Recommended watching:


5 transformational policies for a prosperous and sustainable world: watch now

Sustainability explained: watch now

Recommended listening:

Bill McKibben, a durable future: listen now

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